What is Endpoint Security? How to protect endpoints?

Endpoints are constantly connected to the internet and they offer a gateway to cyberattacks. Endpoint Security is simply the process of protecting your endpoints, be it inside or outside the corporate network. This thwarts any deliberate exploitation via cyber attacks. You can easily protect your endpoints by patching them regularly, implementing proper security protocols and adhering to security compliances. Traditionally, organizations used only antivirus that identifies an existing threat, nowadays they use an endpoint security solution to prevent any threat at all.

This endpoint security guide covers the following:

Endpoint Security definition

Endpoint Security or endpoint protection pertains to protecting endpoints like desktops, laptops, tablets, etc., to prevent any entry points to the corporate network for cyberattacks. Organizations, irrespective of the size, have endpoints and a traditional antivirus solution does not meet the requirement of handling new and evolving malicious cyber threats. Enterprise cyber security is fortified with the help of an endpoint security solution that prevent, identify and rectify the cyber threats immediately.

How endpoint security works?

Endpoints, such as laptops, desktops, smart phones, tablets, etc., in an organization has to be regularly updated to patch vulnerabilities. A common way of managing endpoints is seeking the help of endpoint security software. Generally, an endpoint security solution involves server and client or agent application. The agent application, installed in every endpoint, collects information related to missing patches, monitors overall system health, etc., and sends it back to the centrally hosted server.

Since the information is gathered and presented in a central location, it helps administrators to address the issues, such as, configuring the policy settings across the systems in the network, blocking certain websites, implementing security protocols, patching vulnerabilities, etc., in all the endpoints effortlessly. An Endpoint Security Tool can take care of the security requirements, however, administrators use a Unified Endpoint Management solution to manage all their endpoints under a single platform.

What is the difference between endpoint security and network security?

The main difference between endpoint security and network security is that in case of the former, it's main objective is to secure every single endpoint individually whereas the latter involves securing the enterprise's network on the whole. Enterprise endpoint protection involves deploying and installing patches that fix vulnerabilities in endpoints, tracking the license compliancy and status of various software installed, etc.. A network security solution secures the whole network of an enterprise by implementing DNS protection, encrypting communication between two network entities, deploying honeypot servers as a decoy, monitoring the network traffic for unauthenticated or/and unauthorized access, etc..

What is the difference between endpoint security and antivirus?

While Antivirus software helps in eliminating viruses and other malicious software that is already present in the system, an endpoint security software will secure the vulnerable points across the network and help patch various systems to prevent any paths that can lead to security breach. Thus, endpoint protection software focus on safeguarding whereas antivirus eliminate existing threats.

How endpoint security is different for enterprises and consumers?

Broadly, an endpoint security software can fall under two categories: consumer endpoint security and enterprise endpoint security. On the one hand, a consumer endpoint security solution is tailored for devices at home. The number of features offered are very few and it usually does not have central administrative capabilities. On the other hand, an enterprise endpoint security solution is well-designed to address any administrative needs, such as, log alerts, patch management, vulnerability detection, checking on hardware and software inventory alerts, implementing IT policies related to USB devices, etc., from a central location. An enterprise security solution, by and large, provides more number of features to help faciliate the requirements of an IT administrative team.

Endpoint Security software features to look for in 2021

In the first half of 2019 alone, there were 4.1 billion records of data breaches. Therefore, it has become imperative for any organization to employ an endpoint security platform. Here is the list of top endpoint security software features to look for:

  • Securing devices, especially USB ports
  • Report generation
  • Device-based and user-based security policies
  • Application Control
  • Remote patch installation to fix critical vulnerabilities quickly
  • Strong encryption algorithm for secure communication
  • Receive notifications on security/status of a configuration
  • Browser management
  • Blocking threats to Mail servers, file servers, and collaboration servers
  • Two-factor authentication

How does Desktop Central help in Endpoint Security?

Desktop Central is a Unified Endpoint Management solution from ManageEngine to help address the needs of IT administrators comprehensively. It supports Windows, Mac, Linux, tvOS, Android, iOS and Chrome devices. In any organization, endpoint protection plays a crucial and endpoints pose threats, especially in an organization where Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy has been implemented. Here are some of the Desktop Central's features that admins can use to safeguard their network better:

Desktop Central aims to bridge the age-old gap between endpoint management and security with its latest Endpoint Security add-on. This add-on focuses on proactively securing aspects of endpoint security that are often overlooked by traditional anti-virus and other perimeter security solutions. Empowered with the Endpoint Security add-on, Desktop Central is now a complete solution for unified endpoint management and security. The add-on actively covers 5 aspects of endpoint security such as vulnerability management, browser security, device control, application control, and BitLocker management. For a detailed break-down of the features in each of the 5 modules, refer our Endpoint Security add-on feature page.

  • Vulnerability management and threat mitigation: Regularly scan all your managed endpoints for known vulnerabilities, threats, and default/poor misconfigurations to seal the entry points of cyber attacks with our thorough vulnerability assessment and mitigation features
  • Browser security: Browsers are probably the most neglected endpoints and the most common entry points for malware. Monitor and enforce security measures on the browsers used in your organization with our inclusive set of features for browser security
  • Device control: Say goodbye to stray USBs in your network. Regulate, and restrict peripheral devices in your organization and closely monitor file transfer in and out of your network with our carefully curated features for device control
  • Application control: Unauthorized applications posing a risk to your organization's security and productivity? Use our comprehensive set of features to control applications by blacklisting, whitelisting, or greylisting applications with ease.
  • BitLocker management: Enable data storage only in BitLocker encrypted devices in order to protect sensitive/corporate data from theft. Monitor BitLocker encryption and TPM status in all managed devices

Don't let your security budget drill a hole in to your pocket. Get endpoint management and the benefit of 5 security solution bundled into one at the best price possible with Desktop Central + Endpoint Security add-on. The other features in Desktop Central that helps secure your endpoints are listed below:

  • Modern Management capabilities for Windows 10 devices:
    • Corporate Wipe - Erase all the corporate data if needed.
    • Complete Wipe - Perform complete wipe remotely to erase all the data completely from your device.
    • Geo tracking - Know the real-time location of your devices anytime.
    • Setting a device on the KIOSK mode - Allow users to use only a certain set of applications in the devices.
    • Device enrollment - Devices can enrolled using any modern enrollment technique, such as, email enrollment, self enrollment, etc..
  • Automated Patch Management: Automate the patching of your devices.
  • Configurations: This module helps secure your USB devices, block certain websites, configure firewall, execute custom scripts, etc..
  • Software Deployment: Whether it is licensed or open source software, install the required software easily across the network from a central location.
  • Inventory Management: Keep track of all the software licenses, hardware warranty information and monitor the usage of different software for individual systems in your organization.
  • Remote Control: Remotely connect to a desktop and resolve issues. Multiple technicians can join the remote desktop connection to collaborate efficiently. Using this feature, technicians can also connect to computers with multiple monitors.
  • OS Deployment: Administrators can automate OS imaging and deploy the OS to workstations for seamless OS migration.
  • Mobile Device Management: Features such as Email Management, Content Management, Profile Management, Containerization, etc., are available to manage different devices running on OS platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, etc..

What are the endpoint security best practices?

Endpoint Security Management can be a hectic task for administrators. On top of it, administrators may have other urgent requirements to be addressed that can take up a considerable chunk of their time. Therefore, it is advisable to perform standard routine checks across the devices in the network and it is highly recommended to use one endpoint security tool to get a holistic view of the network. Here is an endpoint security checklist that can help administrators to protect their devices better from security threats:

  • It is advisable to enable the basic security perimeters such as configuring firewall settings for your network to filter the network traffic, device authentication, etc..
  • Regularly scan the devices in your network for vulnerabilities and update them with the latest patches. This practice will protect the devices from most of the security threats.
  • Multi-factor Authentication can be implemented to authenticate the users.
  • Frequently educating the employees about the security measures effectuated across the organization.
  • A strict VPN access policy must be enforced to connect to the organization's network.
  • Collect information regularly regarding the IT hardware's warranty expiration date. Scan the systems for the usage of unlicensed software.
  • Block the applications that can cause downtime in productivity or/and can cause bandwidth choking. For example: Games, downloading via torrents, etc..

Thus, administrators can implement these endpoint security and management practices to ensure their endpoints are secure.